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 Post subject: Magic In Schools - My Essay
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 1:48 pm 
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My Essay – Magic In School

So, does magic have a place in schools? My answer is yes. But you have to do it right.

You see, in a high school, most people just want to blend in, fit in with the crowd. However for there to be a “crowd” to fit in with, some people need to be different. The way to be popular is to be a person who’s different.

Being different is hard. If you get it right, you’re in, if you get it wrong, you end up in the playground with one friend. Magic is a way to get it right. This is because it’s something that, let’s face it, isn’t really in the public domain for kids. Because they haven’t really seen it, kids don’t know how to react. For this reason they can be the most amazing hecklers at times. They also feel a need to grab everything you’re using.

But still high schoolers are the best audience. They are intrigued by what you are doing, and this makes school classrooms/cafeterias/courtyards/playgrounds the best places to draw crowds.

Now, many times have I heard the term “simplicity is the key”, and it couldn’t be truer in schools. Tricks that I have just looked at and forgotten about kick @ss in schools! A force is great for anyone; it can be used in so many different ways. Yet the best way to use a force in school is to put the cards on the table and just say aloud the card you have forced. The trick that went down best was not Sudden Deck, was not Factory Packed, was not the Raven, it was a Hindu Force and Mind Read.

Do tricks with stuff you find in school. Get a gimmicked calculator or something. Our school is really close to a supermarket and so to emphasise the fairness of what I’m doing I ask some kid to buy the cards for me (with my money) and then I break the seal when I’m about to do something and do a bit of comedy while they’re passed round and everyone gives them a shuffle. For Factory Packed, I send somebody in to buy any pack of crisps and do the setup in my form room at break time. These kind of things with plenty of witnesses convince your spectators you are a true miracle worker.

Think of when it is appropriate to perform. For example, a Philosophy lesson may seem like a good time to perform some “miracles”, but you should think it through. How many people in that class are going to be offended by you claiming God-like powers? Also, position yourself correctly. If your tricks are very angley (try to avoid in schools) then direct your friends to the table against the wall and start tricking, the crowds will come to you.

Talking of crowds of people, be careful. Let them come to you. This has two bonuses, firstly only people who are interested bother to stop, people you may recognize as “hecklers” will check you out and then move on, I don’t know why. Also, if you stand there and shout for an audience, people are going to think you are a show-off and a prat. Gossip spreads, and so you never have to introduce yourself. On that note, the only line you will need to open a routine is “wanna see something weird?”

Bringing me nicely on to openers. In my experience the best way to draw a crowd is to do a trick to a friend quietly and in the background to everyone else. As soon as they realise what you are doing, they will gather pretty quick.
WARNING:
As this is what I call a “natural crowd” people will surround you if you are not carefully placed

If you sit at the front of the class, levitate a pencil sharpener and start sharpening your pencil. Stuff like that gives you instant reactions.
WARNING:
Do not be put off by swearing. The most common way to get attention is to do something visual and half way through one kid shouts “[edited]?!” and everyone looks, this is a crucial moment, do not screw it up!


I think that is about long enough. I will be monitoring this topic via e-mail for about a month so all questions/complaints/suggestions for the future should be answered pretty quick. By questions I mean about the essay or performing magic in schools generally. Any comments at all will be appreciated

See Ya,
Dave


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 7:44 pm 
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I really like your advice about the natural crowd, one day all i brought was a thump tip i went to show a teacher next thing i know im standing on a desk with 2 classes surrounding me asking me over and over to do it again! the simplest things that dont make sense to someone make them go crazy.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2005 8:01 pm 
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Dave,

Very nice essay my friend! Nice topic, BTW, too! High School magic is VERY strong! You get a huge oppertunity to largen your ego and make a name for yourself!

-Vinnie


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2005 10:02 pm 
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Im in 8th grade but over the summer i went to band camp and most of the people there were high school students and i just did a handkerchief vanish with a TT and they were freaking out and the teacher was shaking my hand lol.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:18 pm 
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Simple is sometimes best. I did this for my teacher and then he hired me! He was that astounded. Its funny when you know hopw its done.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 3:47 pm 
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Thanks for all the kind comments, there are not enough topics on high-school magic (this excludes "how do I use magic to impress girls" threads) and I totally agree with VLaraway, magic in school can be very strong!



zawert wrote:
I went to show a teacher next thing I know im standing on a desk with 2 classes surrounding me asking me over and over to do it again!


Great as this is, you do have to be careful if you're surrounded and on a desk. Then you really have to watch the angles!


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 Post subject: Sorry, me again
PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 4:44 pm 
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Well, I think I pretty much covered the subject, but as a treat, I'll add some more ;)

Here are my golden rules (in red) for performing school (sorry if some where already mentioned in the essay!)

1. Simplicity is sooooo the key when doing magic for kids. I’ve floated cards, money and other objects, I’ve used the Raven, I’ve done the Balducci oh, so sweetly, but none of these things have had the reaction of a Hindu force and mind read.
2. Joke about it. Serious magicians won’t cut it in school, simple as that. Steal other magician’s lines; these kids won’t have heard them (notice lines, not entire patter or act!). Dirty jokes work ridiculously well for 14 – 16 year olds
3. Help out the nerds. I’m lucky; I’m in the position of popular geek, which can’t be said for many people. This means that if I have something really minor that requires a stooge, I use the nerdy kid. I know it sounds harsh, but we don’t have any friends we have no-one to tell! On the other hand, don’t make it anything too big, as people bugging them for the secret could easily take down their defences and make them blab. Also, no-one is as clever as the nerd, so the audience see you picking on an intellectual, thus making it harder for yourself
4. If your school will let you (doubtful) bring in something like knife or needle thru arm. This will absolutely kill in a school setting. If the school won’t let you, hide them in your bag until you’re on the way home.
5. Use very visual tricks such as levitations to get attention. I once sat at the front of my maths class, levitated my pencil sharpener and heard one kid at the back shout “[edited]?” The whole class were huddled around me in 30 seconds.
6. In the hands magic can go wrong in school, very wrong. Yet it is still the absolute best thing you can do! For every in the spectators hands trick you get, prepare about 2 lines for every worst-case scenario there could ever be. I only practice with any trick for about 5 minutes, then write all the screw-up lines I can think of. I’ve probably wasted a total of days doing this, trust me it works. Remember, the entire show can be ruined by "umm"ing or "err"ing!
7. Work out the angles!!! Zawert said that he ended up on a desk surrounded by two classes. I don’t know about him, but I would probably expose 75% of my tricks without knowing from those kind of angles


I was going to write a few more and make another topic until it came to me in a vision and I realised... I can't be bothered, I'll just post 'em up now!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:48 am 
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Hm...levitate a pencil sharpener you say? Was it an electric one or manual?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 2:04 pm 
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I've read a few comments about card tricks in schools, so I thought I'd contribute to this discussion. For some reason the attitude amonst many is that to do magic in school you have to be a Blaine character, a miracle worker who wanders around floating objects and doing 'weird' things with objects all over the place. I'm very uncomfortable about this idea, because in a school setting one cannot act the magician 24/7, and if they do they will be written off as a bit of a weirdo. If magic is a hobby of yours and you want to demonstrate it to entertain your friends, while making it clear that this is still you and you are demonstrating something you have studied; that is fine. Card magic is ok. Remember: people like magic with cards. It's card tricks some people dislike.

Audience control is of course, key, and that starts with attitude. Make it clear that you are trying to entertain them, not present them with a puzzle. You absolutely have to stress that. In a school, you cannot assume your audience knows that. You have to be firm about repetition, just explain that you are aware that more people showed up now who didn't see it the first time, but that you cannot repeat an effect as a matter of principle, because it will no longer be magic. Keep a distance between yourself and the audience, so there is no oppertunity for hecklers to grab anything. If you are doing a card trick and someone grabs the deck; "What was the point in that?" Stop. Make it clear you won't work under those conditions. "Now find it!" No. Why should I? I'm just trying to entertain you guys, I'm not trying to prove anything. "You can't can you?" If I could, why would I? It is very boring to just find a card, without context or presentation. Anyone can do that.

I don't think having an out to meet their challenge is at all necessarily, as you should not be rising to a challenge. That's not what you're supposed to be doing. It is so very easy to have a heckler clearly branded a spoilsport who is missing the point, if you present yourself as an entertainer. Banter, make jokes, be friendly. Smile, but not smugly. Don't perform to those who won't appreciate it, and don't rise to challenges if they gatecrash you.

Performing the trick should be effortless anyway, so focus on your audience. It is all too easy to get absorbed in your own trick, and find yourself snapped out of it by a heckler who is fed up with your self-indulgence. By focusing on your audience, you can ensure that everyone is enjoying the magic. Make sure people can see clearly, and draw attention to things that may seem obvious just so it is clear what has occurred. These moments of recap are a great time to do your dirty work, of course.

Afterwards, they will want to talk about methods. That's normal. Steer them away from any real methods if you can. Sometimes to a particularly inventive (or indeed accurate) suggestion I will respond "That's quite an interesting idea. I might try that." Generally it is best of course to try and steer people's conversation away from the method to the effect. Five minutes later they won't remember your exact moves, but if you get it right, they will remember what you did. This is very good for you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:14 pm 
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I do tricks in school all the time. High-schoolers are probably one of the hardest audiences you'll ever come across, so if you can do it for them, you're just about set for everyone. I agree with the idea that simplicity is good, but it's okay to do something like the Hummingbird Card once in a while. (Which now is one of my most popular effects) Personally, my favorite trick to do (and the one that gets the most reactions usually) is just a Classic Force to a mindreading trick. This works because most people, after one card trick, are saying, "Why won't you let me shuffle the deck . . .". So I let them, and still get their card. I've also done Card-Through-Wall and gotten some great reactions, Ambitious Card, and the Bat. Bottom line (yeah, I know, FINALLY!) is that school is a great place to perform, just be selective of your audience, and don't let them pressure you to do something you don't want to.


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 Post subject: Re: Sorry, me again
PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 12:12 pm 
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Fandango wrote:
4. If your school will let you (doubtful) bring in something like knife or needle thru arm. This will absolutely kill in a school setting. If the school won’t let you, hide them in your bag until you’re on the way home.


Do NOT bring a knife or a needle into school. I'm not sure about your schools but in the school I got to if you get caught with a knife or some sort of long sharp implement and your instantly suspended. I don't think it's worth it for a trick.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:17 pm 
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Just use paperclips as a substitute for needles. If you're in school, there'll be a bunch everywhere. No need for needles....


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:26 pm 
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Best disgusting trick that you can do with just school supplies :wink:


Paperclip thru arm by Andrew Mayne ie. Shock FX


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 10:28 am 
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bring a lighter and perform some fire magic it is cool and could get you some fans as the human torch.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:40 pm 
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i was at my school and i was showing some of my teaches some magic, after i was done i got invited to do magic a 3 parties.


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